World Juniors roars to life in Vancouver

Scotland's Muirhead to battle Canada Thursday night

   

March 5, 2009

VANCOUVER – What a difference a year makes.

 

At the 2008 World Junior Curling Championship in Ostersund, Sweden, Scotland women’s skip Eve Muirhead wore pink gloves, a green belt, jewelry on her wrist and fingernails painted with the Scottish saltire.

 

Today, as one of the final six potential members of Great Britain’s Olympic curling team, the fancy colours are gone, replaced by a steely, businesslike determination.

 

In the world of women’s curling, Muirhead has shaken the very foundation of the sport to its core.

 

Already the two-time defending world junior champion, Muirhead is going for gold once more at the Vancouver Olympic Centre, host venue of the 2009 World Junior Curling Championship and host venue for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

 

Immediately after the championship, she will jet to Gangneung, Korea to skip a different Scottish team at the 2009 World Women's Curling Championship.

 

It marks the first time in Scottish curling history that a skip has captured both the junior and “adult” women's championships in the same season.

 

And Muirhead is only 18 years old.

 

“I’m definitely just focused on this event,” Muirhead stressed. “When you go to a different competition, it’s a different competition.”

 

How does Muirhead balance all these competitions, which also includes a prolific but temporarily-suspended junior golf career?

 

“Oh, it’s tricky,” Muirhead deadpanned. “It keep me busy, keeps me from hanging around the street corners.”

 

Muirhead kicked off the 2009 World Juniors off with a bang, defeating France's Marie Coulot 11-2 in eight ends, as did Canada’s Kaitlyn Lawes of Winnipeg, last year's bronze medallist, who smacked Denmark's Mette de Neergaard by a 10-2 count.

 

“We’re very pleased with the start,” said Lawes.

 

“It means so much to me, playing in Canada as opposed to somewhere else. It’s a dream come true. It's a gorgeous facility.”

 

Scotland and Canada lock horns in Thursday night action. Last year in Ostersund, Muirhead won the round robin battle and the teams did not meet again in the playoffs.

 

“I’m looking forward to it,” said Lawes.

 

In other opening draw action, Switzerland’s Martina Bauman walloped Anna Kubeskova of the Czech Republic 10-2, and Alexandra Carlson of the United States stole a 9-8 win over Japan’s Satsuki Fujisawa.

 

In men’s opening draw action, Canada’s Brett Gallant of Prince Edward Island faces Norway’s Kristian Rolvsjord; Sweden’s 2008 silver medallist Oskar Eriksson takes on Russia’s Andrey Drozdov; Denmark’s Rasmus Stjerne battles Germany’s Konstantin Kaempf and defending champion Chris Plys of the United States meets Graeme Black of Scotland.

 

Live scoring, statistics and shot-by-shot graphics of every match are available at: http://www.wjcc.curlit.com  with results mirrored at the WCF Results website at:  http://results.worldcurling.org

 

The event website is located at:  http://www.wjcc2009.com

 

 

Canada third Jenna Loder in draw one action

WCF photo by Andrew Klaver